Hubbub and Unilever urge consumers not to waste Halloween pumpkins

Written by: Editorial staff | Published:

New research released by environmental charity Hubbub and Unilever reveals the number of edible pumpkins set to go to waste this Halloween. Reported to be Hubbub's and Unilever’s third in a series of seasonal campaigns to tackle the seven million tonnes of food and drink wasted in UK homes each year, new research reveals seven out of 10 pumpkins carved for Halloween don’t get eaten​.

Halloween is reportedly now Britain’s third biggest commercial holiday, after Christmas and Easter, and the country’s second biggest party night after New Year’s Eve. The survey of 2,000 UK adults found that two in five British households carve pumpkins for Halloween and most of those go for at least two pumpkins.

Eight out of 10 people said they would like to reduce the amount of food they waste, but more than half admitted that they don’t think of a Halloween pumpkin as food. Half of those asked said they had never eaten pumpkin before and perhaps it’s this unfamiliarity that leads six in 10 to say they wouldn’t know how to cook pumpkin, despite two thirds claiming they are confident they could make a soup from scratch. Most (73%) of those who had tried pumpkin said they liked it, with pumpkin soup coming out as Britain’s favourite pumpkin dish.

When it comes to pumpkin disposal after Halloween, 45% of pumpkins are disposed of in food waste bins and 28% are composted. However, that still leaves over five million pumpkins which end up in landfill, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions as they decompose and produce methane.

Charlotte Carroll, sustainability director for Unilever UK and Ireland said: “The frightful volume of delicious and healthy pumpkins going uneaten is a food waste horror story.”

Trewin Restorick, founder and CEO of Hubbub stated: “As Halloween continues to grow in popularity in the UK, it’s really important that this doesn’t create an ever larger mountain of food waste. We must recognise that pumpkins are a valuable source of food and not just for decoration, if we are to tackle the seven million tonnes of food and drink wasted from British homes each year. Halloween is a great opportunity to help our children understand where food comes from and involve them in cooking a simple meal with their pumpkin carvings.”

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